Many reasons for religious conversion

Published 8:03 am Tuesday, April 7, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: I travel the world and know what it is to convert money, but what does conversion really mean in the realm of religion, particularly Christianity, and how does it happen? — C.D.
Dear C.D.: The idea of conversion isn’t unusual in our society and comes in many forms. The chief business of advertising is to convert the buying public from one brand to another. Oil furnaces were converted to coal and converted from coal to gas. The dollar, likewise, is converted into foreign currency.
The word “conversion” means to “turn around,” to change one’s mind. In the realm of the Christian religion it has been variously explained as to repent, to be regenerated, to receive grace, etc.
There are many reasons for conversion. Individuals can be stripped of worldly power, fame, fortune, or even relationships. The very goodness of God can use bad things that happen to drive people to recognize for the first time their dependence upon God that often leads to repentance.
The Bible asks this: “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). The greatest gift of God is His salvation, His forgiveness of sin. When people repent and turn from disobedience to God’s way, conversion happens in the soul.
Students of psychology have agreed that there are three steps in conversion: a sense of perplexity, a turning point, and a relaxation marked by joy. Biblical conversion involves three steps. Repentance is the turning from the former life, faith is the turning to God, and regeneration (receiving life eternal) which brings the soul into the family of God. “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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